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The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web
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The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web

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Whether you're interested in making a living or just want a few extra dollars on the side, freelancing is a great opportunity for any web designer. We will talk about how to get the best clients, what …

Whether you're interested in making a living or just want a few extra dollars on the side, freelancing is a great opportunity for any web designer. We will talk about how to get the best clients, what to charge for your services and what out of pocket expenses to expect. After that, we will explore ways to keep clients happy by managing expectations. Learn how to value your work and ensure that your next freelance project goes off without a hitch.


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  • Group discussion on freelance perceptions.
  • You’ve made the decision to go freelance, how do you get work?
  • Asking relatives and cold calling generally lead to poorly qualified leads.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The Art of Freelancing and the Interactive Web
      By Chris Black
    • 2. Background
      Chris Black
      3 years part time free lancing
      2 years as a Senior Developer at the Nerdery
      1 year full time freelancer / author
      Why did I go freelance?
    • 3. Going freelance
    • 4. Why Freelance?
    • 5. Compared to Fulltime
      Freelance / Contract
      Control over projects you take
      Work on your own schedule
      Income varies each month
      Always on the clock
      Self motivated
      Fulltime
      Little control over projects you work on
      Work 9 to 5
      Consistent salary
      Usually not on call
      Motivated by others
    • 6. Considerations
      Could I go 90 days without a paycheck?
      Do I have all the knowledge to accomplish the tasks? If not, do I know others that can help?
      Am I self motivated?
    • 7. Getting work
    • 8. Types of Work
      Full time job + freelance on the side
      When you want more experience or need extra cash
      Don’t compete with your employer!
      Full time freelance
      Contract jobs
    • 9. Types of Self Employment
      Freelance
      Generally shorter projects
      Can be fixed bid or time and materials
      Less commitment
      Requires more work from you – wearing many hats
      Need to find work on your own or by referral
      Work remotely, sometimes onsite
      Contract Work
      Usually 20 – 40 hours per week for a set duration
      Generally paid by the hour
      Contractual agreement of work
      Can be specific to your discipline
      Placement by recruiters or professionals
      Usually onsite
    • 10. Starting an LLC
      Valuable for full time freelancers
      Easy to setup
      Separates expenses into a business account
      Step 1: Name
      Step 2: Articles of Organization ($160)
      Step 3: EIN number
      Step 4: Open a bank account
    • 11. Finding Freelance Work
      Have a consolidated portfolio ready
      LA and NY Craigslist
      Networking events (MN.swf, Minnedemo…)
      Create a blog
      Participate in online communities
      Are you competing with other Freelancers?
    • 12. What to Charge
      Entry level work is usually $20 / hour
      Mid to junior level work $30 - $60 / hour
      Senior designer or developer $80+ / hour
      These numbers are for design / development in Minneapolis, rates vary based on location
      Keep in mind marketing, sales, software, tax prep and more are all on your dime
    • 13. Working for Free
      Overnight website challenge
      When you need to boost your portfolio
      When you feel passionate about something
      Answering quick questions
      Put a cap on the amount of free work you are willing to do
    • 14. Estimating
      Fixed bid vs. Time and Material
      Fixed bid is paying based on initial estimate
      Time and material is paying per hour
      Only choose fixed bid for very small, well defined work
      Properly managed time and material is better for both you and the client
      Break down the project into front end and backend work
      Offer alternate estimates removing features
    • 15. Estimating Example
    • 16. Filtering Work
      Is this a project I want?
      Are they paying my going rate?
      Will this be good exposure?
      Is the timeline reasonable?
      How much research will I need to do?
      Don’t take every job
    • 17. Executing work
    • 18. Client Relations
      Some small talk is good
      Eat lunch with clients and colleagues
      Keep in mind the project will end
    • 19. Project Management
      Clearly outline estimates, hours you plan to work and hours completed
      Break the project down into milestones
    • 20. Example Timeline
    • 21. Invoicing the Client
      For small projects with new clients take half up front
      Reliable, repeat clients can be billed weekly or monthly
      Contract work is usually on NET 30 terms, it could be 60 days before you see a check!
      QuickBooks Pro
    • 22. Example Invoice
    • 23. Clear Communication
      Respond to e-mails promptly
      Ask questions rather than guess
      Be honest about your ability and interest in the work
      Recognize early warning flags
    • 24. General Information
    • 25. Considerations
      Health insurance
      Dental insurance
      Disability insurance
      Do I need a loan in the next two years?
      Retirement account
      Budgeting
      Taxes – just hire somebody
    • 26. Taxes
      Many things are deductable for self employed individuals: software, computer, business expenses, conferences
      Anyone you do more than $600 of work for must send you a W9
      Claim all of your income
      Pay estimated taxes quarterly
    • 27. Questions?
    • 28. Additional Information
      http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/business/7-freelancing-mistakes/
      http://www.developria.com/2010/12/if-you-can-make-it-here.html
      http://www.developria.com/2010/12/if-you-can-make-it-here-part-2.html
      http://www.developria.com/2010/12/if-you-can-make-it-here-part-2.html
      http://blog.benstucki.net/?p=66

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